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Beware of iOS hiding your email messages

Evan Schuman | March 3, 2016
A bug in iOS is periodically hiding email messages, in a way that makes the messages appear to have been deleted.

They ultimately gave up, after making a bizarre suggestion to check with the company that registered the domain for me about 16 years ago. What that domain registrar had to do with an iOS issue is unclear, but that was the last suggestion I heard.

For the record, I also checked with various members of Apple media relations—voicemail, email messages and even a Twitter note—and never received a response. (Note to Apple: If you're going to ask media members to use the media relations main voicemail account, it would be a nice touch to actually respond to those messages. Just a thought.)

This bug materializes about one out of every six or seven times the opportunity presents itself. To do it, you first need a bunch of messages in your inbox and then you need to select all but a handful to delete. Have no idea why it happens only periodically, but that it does.

No surprise, but the issue isn't presenting when looking at the messages on the server, nor when accessing the mail from any other device, such as a Windows laptop. And given that the iPhone coughs the messages back up several hours later, it appears clear that it's an iOS issue.

It's worth noting that I discovered this glitch right after Apple introduced the long-delayed "Delete All" function for its email. My immediate suspicion was that the two were related.

This is a serious problem, as mobile devices are rapidly morphing into a power user's main email access unit, rather than the supplemental way smartphones were used a few years ago in enterprises. The more a user travels, the more mission-critical the device's ability to retrieve and present email becomes.

The workaround is unpleasant. When I see a crucial email on the phone, I choose to not delete any messages until I no longer need that message. But with my receiving hundreds of emails a day—many of them newsletters and Google news alerts—it's really hard to keep the inbox functional when it gets that crowded. When traveling, the inbox quickly becomes impractical.

Hence, Apple really needs to make this glitch go away. First, though, it needs to admit that it exists.


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